The Impasse – 2 of Swords

The 2 of swords has been following me around constantly for the last few weeks. I haven’t been able to pin down exactly why it’s popping up, but I have deep suspicions on what area of life it’s trying to draw my attention to. That makes its appearance that much more ironic.

I’ve developed this habit. When I keep seeing a card and its symbolism; I sit with it. Then, I do a deep dive refresher on the basic facts of the card. I then sit with it some more and pay close attention to what I am drawn to within the card.

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There have been times in my life where this card came up a lot, and it rarely made sense to me at the time why it was doing the stalker thing until I started using what I am going to coin, the “Sit-With-It-Method”(SWIM) of reading Tarot for yourself. I did not intentionally set out to make an acronym called SWIM, but it’s that much funnier that it ended up that way.

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The 2 of swords represents Libra overall, but specifically the 1st Decan of Libra around September 22 – October 3. Generally, Libra is most commonly associated with balance and is represented in the zodiac by an old-school scale. The traditional Rider-Waite Smith deck shows a figure sitting on a rock bench, blindfolded, with swords in both hands forming an ‘X’ in front of their body. The view behind them is a choppy water landscape with some hills and a twilight-looking sky.

Imagery aside, this card can really draw you in, especially all the details that are there. It’s different than the 2 of pentacles in that this person is not moving, the landscape around them is. Think about that for a moment. It’s the only 2 in the minor arcana that symbolizes unseen external circumstances in regards to internal decisions. In the 2 of Wands, we see the moment of the decision, the 2 of Cups is shown right as the 2 people are choosing to choose each other (aww). In the 2 of Pentacles, literally everything is moving; the ships, the water, the character, the balls their juggling. The 2 of Pentacles has serious burnout energy attached to it, but the 2 of Swords; we don’t know where they’re at in that decision making process, we just see stillness on their part.

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It’s like whatever is going on with this character, some part of the situation they have no control over. Now the interpretation of this card that I learned as a wee tarot reader describes this card as someone being emotionally or mentally indecisive. Their thoughts, their emotions are out of whack, even though they appear to be calm and that all is okay.

It’s not that I don’t see this description of this card anymore, it’s just doesn’t feel complete. Like it wouldn’t completely apply unless it was reversed or ill-aspected in a reading. Because of this, I tend to read the 2 of S energy in that first description, and depending on the impressions I get and the surrounding cards; it can also mean a head over heart choice ( look at that infinity symbol created by the characters arms). The practical versus the desired. In this day and age, the choice between these two can knock on the door of existential crisis for some.

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I like to use examples, analogies, and all that stuff to kind of drive a point home, so, here is a scenario.

You’re out with some friends at the beach and you all decide to play a game (humor me). This game involves an apple air tag and 2 phones. Your friends are known to be pranksters, so you’re expecting something to go down, you just don’t know what. They sit you down on some hard-ass bench, blindfold you, and tell you to hold the phones much like the character in the card. Your task, you find out, is to use the correct phone to find the air tag. They both will pick up the location, but only one phone will give you the accurate one.

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You’re chilling on the bench counting to 50 and can suddenly hear what feels like… everything. People talking, children laughing, someone making something on the grill, cars starting in the parking lot. You can also smell everything, the seawater, smoke, gasoline, etc. You also hear the crash of the waves that make them feel much closer to you than they actually are so there is a small presence of fear that they will sneak up and overtake you. Dusk is soon and there’s a high tide coming in that would make the bench you’re on double as a rest spot for a seal, so time is of the essence.

Just like in this card, you have lost the sense of sight and your body naturally boosted all the other senses to try and compensate. The person on the card can’t see anything, and to a degree, they can’t feel anything either other than the bench, the blindfold, and what’s in their hands. They can hear and they can smell, though. This means all they can rely on is those 2 senses to determine what’s going on around them while they can’t see.

Depending on the context of the reading, either the person is hiding something by not showing their eyes, or someone/something has blocked them from seeing because something is being hidden from them. There is also the possibility, that spirit is blocking them from seeing something for some reason too. In my mind, it only makes sense to look at the 2 of S, at least partially, as an external influence because of all that water, even though this is not the traditional interpretation. Traditionally, all that water represents emotions.

Here’s what’s really cool about this card though when it pops up for you. It says that you are holding steady despite external disruptions and blockages. It also says that even though you feel super queasy cause you can’t physically see what’s going on, you can still SEE enough to know what moves to make, and if you should move at all, so you can rip that blindfold off. It screams following your intuition for me in regards to making a decision, as many 2 cards tend to do.

In the real world, regardless of whether it’s being done to you or by you, the energy is most certainly that of an impasse.

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Impasse- noun

A situation in which no progress is possible, especially because of disagreement; a deadlock. 

Oxford Languages
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The character may want to remove the blindfold to see but is possibly too afraid to do so because of WHAT they might potentially see or WHAT will happen if they let go of one of those swords to remove the blindfold. If they just dropped one of those swords, this whole blog post would be moot, really; but they hold on to that “belief” or “thought” and as a result; A classic fork in the road scenario presents itself. Does one let the swords go or hold on for dear life.

Such a conundrum of symbolism in this card. It isn’t necessarily just “ this or that” but is also “this AND that”, if you catch my drift. Much like the concept of a paradox.

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I think the best advice that I can give when the 2 of Swords show up in your life is to remember that you have other senses and you should use them, that they are probably heightened because one is cut off.

If you take a deep breath and clear your mind (ahem, meditation anyone) the answers you need will come to you. Remember, the idea of “trying” in meditation sorta defeats the purpose of meditation; you’re not “trying” to do anything. Yet, another paradox, lol.

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These are just some of the observations I’ve had when running into this card over the years. It is by no means the only interpretation of it and some readers would violently disagree with everything I’ve written. That’s okay. I will always encourage people to do their own research and work with the tarot in the way that is comfortable to them. No one will know the language between you and the Creator better than you and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Also, it’s kind of asinine to try to control what other people think and do; it’s the equivalent of saying there’s only one way to be a psychic, or to cook broccoli for crying out loud, mmm…nah.

We’re all sovereign beings so, yeah, don’t have time for any of that nonsense over here on POA! Nurture, nature, and our divinely gifted intuition all come into play when it comes to interpreting the symbolisms that are presented to us. Keep that in mind as you travel deeper on your journey of self-knowledge. Remember the Healer’s Trinity.

I hope you found this post on the 2 of Swords helpful or at the very least, insightful enough to get you thinking a little bit deeper about this card. 

Do you have an observation about the 2 of Swords that I didn’t mention? Feel free to let the community know in the comments 🙂

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